The People Suicide Leaves Behind

Sometimes I think about how easy it would be to die. I realize that sometimes the pain of living can be more than that of dying. I, like you, wouldn’t leave a note. Anyone who cared enough to find my reasoning would find the random letters I write to no one. They’re everywhere. These letters pieced together would explain everything, though I did not write them for the intent of leaving clues as to why I chose to die. These letters have kept me sane when no one else would listen or I just simply couldn’t speak – only write.

I’ll admit I lost a lot of my sanity when you left. And even though it’s been 231 days, I’m still awakened every night by dreams of you. Whether they be good or bad, they hurt all the same. I find myself being selfish and wishing the good dreams were real, but I know you wouldn’t want to come back even if you could. It’s so easy to be selfish though.

People catch me talking out loud to no one and make jokes about how I talk to myself…and I just let them, because, well, how crazy would I look if I told them I wasn’t talking to myself, but to my dead friend? I like to pretend you can hear me. And who knows, maybe you can. Either way, don’t tell me. If I knew you could hear me, I would never shut up, and if I knew you couldn’t…well…I’d lose it.

People still ask about you. They come into the convenience store where we used to work together and they ask what happened to you, or where you’ve been. I hate saying it because I haven’t quite figured out how. I just tell them that you transferred. Of course, when they find that little obituary card we have laminated by the register, they ask more questions. A woman came in the other night and asked Joe what had happened. Joe just started a few weeks ago, so he had no idea. He called me over and asked if I knew and I said, “Yeah, I know.”

“Well, what happened?” she asked.

And I wasn’t sure how to put it so I stumbled across a few words that didn’t want to form a sentence.

She seemed irritated with my response – or rather the lack of it. “I was close to him, I was wondering where he’d been lately.”

“I don’t even know how to explain it. Say it. I mean. I just. He…” my efforts felt ridiculous.

“Was it an accident?”

There was an easier question. “No.”

She made this awful scoffing sound as if I was the bitch in the conversation.

I tried again, “He chose.”

Her face twisted into a look of confusion and irritation, “what do you mean ‘he chose’—“ she stopped herself and her twisted expression softened into one of guilt.

I could feel my face go cold and my hands start shaking, “He didn’t want to be here anymore.”

“He…oh my God…he was such a good kid.”

I laughed, “Yeah, he was the sweetest.” And while I wanted to be done with this conversation, she kept pressing.

“That’s awful. Were you close to him? I mean I guess I kind of knew…whenever I’d come in here I could see that distance in his eyes and always wanted to ask him if he was okay. I’ve dealt with a lot of deaths this year and I know that look.”

I wanted so badly to say, Bitch, that was just drugs, you don’t know shit. But I controlled myself. No one knew. No one had any idea and that’s the way you wanted it. You were the type of person that would put his own issues aside to brighten someone’s day when he couldn’t even brighten his own.

When she left, I went back to work and Joe followed me.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

I just nodded.

“I didn’t know. I just – she asked, and I thought maybe you’d know and then you turned around and I looked at your eyes and I was like ‘shit, she’s gonna cry’,” He laughed to lighten the mood and I didn’t mind it.

I looked up at him, “It’s just rough. People come in here all the time – STILL! – and they ask where he is. Like, don’t you know by now? How have you not heard about it by now? You know what, I don’t even care. If they cared about him like they say they did, they would have been there. They would have fucking been there. And the next person to ask me where he is will be cut.”

How do they not know? How could they say they know you when they haven’t realized you’ve been gone for months now? Every time someone asks about you, I want to jump across the counter and grab their throats and tell them to go fuck themselves. Perhaps that’s a bit extreme, but I mean it. I have completely lost my shit since you left.

I write a lot of letters that will never be read. That was one of the many that I’ve written to my best friend who hanged himself on November 4th, 2013.

Going through life when your best friend is 6 feet in the ground is…well, it’s just not something you want to do. Few people have asked what it’s like. And of the few, none of them have been given a response. But I have one now. What’s it like? To lose someone you didn’t want to live without? The answer is in the question. You just don’t want to live. That’s what it’s like. And I’ve thought about this 100 times and can’t think of a better way to put it.

When you lose the person that made life bearable — lose them because you couldn’t do the same for them — the feeling of guilt will take the life from your whole body. Mentally, emotionally, and — slowly — even physically. When someone leaves the way he did, everyone wants to point a finger. Everyone wants to know why. And he didn’t leave a “why.”

So forgive me for blaming myself, because I do. A lot of us do. And I’m not the only one who blames me. And I’ll be honest, I don’t want anyone to tell me it isn’t my fault, because it is. And by saying that, I don’t mean that I told him to leave or handed him a noose, I just mean that I had the opportunity to tell him to stay and I didn’t. Among other things. I’ll stop blaming myself when I look into his eyes and tell him I’m sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t make life bearable. I’ll stop blaming myself when he’s standing in front of me. I’ll stop blaming myself when I’m gone too.

Unfortunately there are two parts to this story and to this “life.” I’ll explain the quotations around that momentarily. The second part is learning how to live with everything that has happened. And I’m still figuring this part out, but I’ll share with you what I have.

Living like this often feels like a nightmare. Literally. It’s like I’m asleep and none of it is real. It’s difficult to be close with people because they notice it. And I’m not sure how to explain it. How do you tell someone you’re dead when they’re standing right in front of you — witnessing your breaths and the blood in your cheeks? And my other half was questioning me about this the other day and I didn’t say anything out loud. But he looked at me with fear and said “you’re not even here right now.” I stood there physically — he could touch me, smell me, hear me. But my mind was gone. Somewhere else. He said that just by looking at my eyes, it was obvious. They lacked life and focus. As if everything they gazed upon had no purpose. That it could all be looked through. He said he thought I’d just seen too much. That i had seen things a person of average could go their whole life avoiding. Nothing was real to me anymore. And I’ve been convinced by multiple college professors that human life has value because it holds a life and emotion that no other creature possesses. So if I’m missing this, can I assume I’m useless? Or dead?

That’s how I feel. Dead.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been driving and thought of how easy it would be to lose control. How many times I’ve held a bottle of pills in my hand and wondered how many it would take. How many times I’ve just wondered how easy it would be. How easy it would be for ME. But my mind still functions in a way that seems mostly human and I think about the first part of this story and realize that I don’t want to make anyone in the world feel like this. I realize that I need to hold on and make life bearable for myself and for everyone around me. That even though I feel like I’m dead, I’m not. And maybe since I’m not completely gone, there’s still a way to be brought back to life. I’m hanging on for the fact that I can’t bring myself to take someone’s life the way he took mine. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Martin Gommel

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